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693 Consenting or refusing health treatment Under the law, a patient normally has the right to refuse any health treatment. Unless it is an emergency situation, a health professional must obtain a patient's consent before starting any treatment or procedure.
- Informed consent requiredUnder the law, a patient can only consent to health treatment if they have been properly informed in advance. This includes a full explanation of the treatment, the risks associated with the treatment, the risks of not accepting treatment and information about alternative treatments.
- The right to ask questions about treatmentIf a health professional does not provide you with information before treatment, you have the right to ask questions in order to fully understand all your choices and the risks involved. It is usually a good idea to prepare questions before arriving at your appointment.
- Waiving legal rights upon consent to treatmentIf a health care professional asks you to sign a form acknowledging your consent to treatment, read it carefully so that you can make an informed decision. In serious cases, if you are unsure about consenting or if you think you are being asked to waive any rights, you may want to consult a lawyer.
- Treatment without consentIf a health professional provides treatment to you without your consent, you can register a complaint by calling their professional organization. In serious cases, you may want to consult a lawyer about your right to sue.
The professional organization for doctors is called the College of Physicians and Surgeons. For the names and telephone numbers of other health professional organizations you can contact the Ministry of Health listed in the Blue pages of the telephone book.